There's not a lot more I can add to the eloquent eulogies out there today for the tragically departed Dwayne McDuffie. His passing is a loss for the entire comics community.
I do want to add one thing that meant a fair amount to me, that seems to be missing from most of the remembrances of the man's work, and that is his brief but, in my opinion, spectacular run on the Fantastic Four:
It was a short run, only 12 issues. And it kind of got lost between the hype over JMS's Civil War break-up storyline and the much publicized Millar/Hitch run. But I think it displayed a lot of McDuffie's strengths as a writer.
After a fair amount of fan controversy regarding Reed's position in the Civil War, Dwayne found a way to moderate that to something the fans found more acceptable without completely retconning what JMS did. He took what could have been a cheap gimmick, and used Reed and Sue's problems to bring the Black Panther and Storm onto the team, and did it in a way that not only made sense, but emphasized the family concept of the FF.
And he put together the best Frightful Four story in probably 20+ years, and one of the best Doctor Doom stories ever. As a lifetime FF fan, I don't say that lightly.
And that, in a nutshell, showed Dwyane's strengths. When he wasn't creating his own characters, he still was usually able to see to the core of what made the characters great, and find new ways to emphasize that. He understood continuity and could use it without being enslaved by it. He could shake things up in a way that seemed like forward progress instead of hyped wheel-spinning. And he was respectful to the work of others, gently tweaking and massaging other people's plotlines, rather than ignoring them or declaring "that never happened."
I wish his run had been longer (especially given the tumultuous and difficult run at DC that immediately followed). And I wish that Marvel and DC had had the wisdom to see that here was a man who maybe was far better suited to shepherding their universes than some of the big-name writer-gods to whom they've ceded all power to days.
Hasta la vista, Dwayne.
And hey, Marvel, would it kill you to put out a collection of the various Damage Control series?